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Business

Stocks pare losses after Brussels attacks

Financial markets have taken news of the Brussels attacks in stride, recovering losses made in the immediate aftermath of explosions at the city's main airport and a metro station. But travel stocks still underperformed.

The carnage in Brussels on Tuesday that killed at least 30 people and left scores more wounded also

sent stocks in tourism and leisure companies

around the world skidding. On Wednesday, that sector continued to feel the effect of heightened anxiety among travelers, even as authorities in the Belgian capital

apprehended a prime suspect.

The STOXX Europe 600 Travel & Leisure Index fell slightly, adding to a 1.8 percent decline the day before, when

suspected Islamic State militants detonated suicide belts

at Brussels' Zaventem airport and on a train near the Maelbeek metro station.

But the continued sell-offs of European travel stocks were not representative of the broader mood among investors on the Continent or in the United Kingdom. European share indexes rose and UK stocks advanced too, with British investors even buying back into the tourism sector.

Markets up

Germany's blue-chip DAX index passed the psychologically important 10,000-point mark, driven up by a cheapening of the euro to $1.1184, which made European exports more competitive abroad.

Watch video 01:34

Travelers alarmed by Brussels attacks

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was also up 0.5 percent, while the eurozone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index gained 0.6 percent. London's benchmark FTSE 100 also nudged up a few points compared to Tuesday's close.

Tokyo's bourse closed down on Wednesday, while China's pushed higher, recovering from an earlier slump that was attributed to the violence in Brussels. Those results followed broad losses in the United States and Europe the day before.

A new status quo?

The Brussels bombings were the

latest in a string of targeted attacks

against citizens of countries that are engaging with the Islamic State in Syria, whether directly or indirectly. Victims have included Parisians in France, Germans and Turks in Istanbul and Russian passengers flying over Egypt, to name a few.

But the frequency with which the self-proclaimed Islamic State has lashed out may also be having a desensitizing effect, according to Bernard Aw, a market strategist at IG in Singapore who spoke to the AFP news agency.

"The impact of terror activity on financial markets has lessened substantially in recent years," he said. "Economies and markets have a tendency to adjust and desensitize to such events over time."

cjc/hch (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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